Play a game with your child in which you give him a social problem to work out while you’re videotaping his response. Watch the recording together and ask him how well he thinks he handled it.
Be specific when praising him for appropriate behavior. If he struggled with the situation, offer an alternative response and tape that too. Watch the new video together and ask him to compare it with his original response.
What you can say
“OK, Jacob, lights, camera, action! Let’s make our own little video game. I’m hitting the record button right now. Here’s the scene. I’m pretending to be your friend Michael, and it’s my birthday. You just arrived at my party all excited because you bought me a new version of a game I love to play with you.”
“‘Hey, Jacob, thanks for the game. But I already have it. My mom gave it to me yesterday for my birthday. Can I exchange this one?’ OK, Jacob, you’re on. How are you going to respond to Michael’s question?”
Why this will help
Children with learning and attention problems often have a difficult time thinking on their feet. When things don’t go the way they’d planned, and they have to shift their mindset, they can get stuck trying to come up with an appropriate response.
Videotaping this kind of role-play can help your child see how he reacts when you throw him a curve ball. You can teach him how to improve specific social skills by replaying the tape and pointing out what he did well and what he needs to work on. Discussing alternative solutions can help your child start to develop some flexibility in the way he responds to the unexpected.